Everybody needs a go-to dish when you want something flavorful and fast, and this is one of my favorites.
Let me say up front that I don't cook Indian food. This recipe originated on the can of my favorite curry powder. It wasn't a very big can, so you can imagine how short the recipe was. Of course, I've changed it over the years, and it's one of those recipes to which you can add whatever you have on hand.
Before I jump in, a word about curry powders. One of the few things I have learned about Indian cooking is that each curry powder is different, and I'm not even going to touch the idea of blending your own. I grew up with McCormick's version, which is very mild, and which my mother used sparingly, so it provided just a hint of flavor (I still have a sneaking fondness for it mixed into scrambled eggs). I have a current favorite that is easy to find in grocery stores, but you'll have to try a few until you find one that suits your taste–and you can always add spices to it, if you find that the balance is off.
So here's the recipe:
Quick and Easy Curry
|Chicken, onions, tomatoes and yogurt|
2 cups protein. Most often I use left-over cooked chicken, cut up, but you can just as easily use skinless chicken breasts, or lamb (a rarity, at least in our market) or shrimp. Hey, for all I know it works just as well with tofu–I've never tried it.
2 large yellow onions, sliced lengthwise
1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
3 Tblsp curry powder of your choice (it seems like a lot but it isn't)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (you can use fresh if you have them)
1 cup creamy yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Peanut oil for sauteing
Chop all your ingredients before you start, because the cooking doesn't take long.
In a skillet, heat the peanut oil and add the onions, garlic and curry powder. Cook at medium heat until the onions are softened. (Adding the curry powder now really brings out its flavor.)
Add your protein. If you're using leftovers, just toss to warm through and coat with the curry-onion mixture. If you're using uncooked meat or shrimp, saute at medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes, stir, cover, and cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes (you'll note that everything in this is already cooked, so this is just to blend the flavors).
When you're ready to eat, add the yogurt and blend well over low heat, just enough to heat up the yogurt–you don't need to cook it. Yogurts vary widely in consistency, so if you want the end result to be creamy, you'll have to experiment. The less creamy yogurts may look a bit curdled when cooked, but the dish still tastes good.
Serve over steamed rice. (I like to pep up my rice by adding some cardamom seed pods while the rice cooks.)